io4 A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
operation.1 The hypnotic condition draws the subject's attention away from these physical organs—from the whole body in fact_and thus concentrates it entirely on the subconscious mind, whose mysterious faculties thereupon come into play. But really, I cannot say much more than that. I can only provide the necessary conditions and then watch these faculties at work/'
"You make no passes with the hands, I notice. Do you regard them as unnecessary?"
"I think they may well be necessary to some hypnotists, monsieur/' he replied energetically, "but I can dispense with them. I rely entirely on the force of my will and on the spoken suggestions which I give to my subject. My experience makes me believe that the real secret of hypnotizing lies in these two methods, especially in suggestion, made calmly and authoritatively, and that magnetic passes are only necessary to those who do not feel expert enough to dispense with them."
For a part of every year Cairo harbours a man who may safely be described as the most famous fakir of modern Egypt —none other than the illustrious Tahra Bey. Much controversy has raged around his feats; many critics have endeavoured to stab his reputation even as he stabs his own body with arrows and knives; yet the fact remains that a large number of distinguished people have found his achievements interesting at least, and convincing at most; that King Fuad of Egypt,
1 The Yogis of India gave me a somewhat similar explanation of these phenomena. They claimed that every man had an invisible "soul-body" and that there were seven nervous centres in the latter, situated in an area approximating to the cerebro-spinal system and the upper brain, and that c&.ii of these unseen centres was the real controlling agency of our physical senses. Thus, they placed the first centre in the sacral region and this controlled smell; the second was in the spleen and governed taste; the third was it the navel and corresponded to sight, and soon. Their, theory, was that the external sense-objects are really perceived by this "soul-body" which is the internal agent whose co-operation is essential to the successful functioning of all man's physical senses. The latter are merely instruments and without such co-operation become incapable of performing their offices. In other words, sight, hearing, etc., are primarily mental faculties and only secondarily physical. The Yogis claimed that by conscious control of attention, as in profound concentration, the feats performed by hypnotized subjects can be done at will, without a hypnotizer.